Kinaafeh – Palestine’s favourite sweet treat

I had the great privilege of visiting the beautiful Palestinian city of Ramallah, and being shown around by a local. Just a short bus ride away from Jerusalem lies this bustling city, that is totally cut off from the outside world. It’s like a city in a bubble, a distilled concentrate of Palestine’s culture. The chaotic streets have a charm that is alive and boiling. The people are warm, friendly and love Indians. Wherever I looked I was met by welcoming smiles.

After walking around for three hours exploring the streets, Huda our lovely host insisted we try a some middle eatern sweets. Though we were stuffed from trying all sorts of street food, it was hard to resist trying something new. Something I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to feast on again any time soon.

We went to a sweet shop called Eifel sweets. The name of course has nothing to do with what they serve. Since it was post dinner time, the place was packed with families out to indulge in some late night dessert. Though the place makes a whole variety of sweets, we noticed that everyone was eating one same thing. Viscous platefuls of bright orange sat on every single table. The kitchen was churning out large trays of the same steaming dish.

This king of palestinian sweet is called Kinaafeh. It is made with sweet cheese (which is much like cottage cheese or paneer) and topped with a vermicelli like crispy layer, then soaked in sugar syrup and garnished with pistachio nuts. I was intimidated by the description and the portion, but it isn’t very sweet and just melt in the mouth. Though I resisted being served a full plate, it wasn’t long before I had polished the whole thing off. I even wanted more. But my stomach was stretched thin by this point. This experience was definitely one of the culinary highlights of my life.


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